Mumbai – October 28, 2020: As part of the ‘Ab Meri Baari’ national campaign, 10to19 Dasra Adolescents Collaborative along with its seven partners including ComMutiny, Pravah, among others have trained 100 adolescents between the age group of 10 to 19. The training equips these 100 ‘Youth Champions’ with skills specific to social media and digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Canva, Zoom, among others. The training also involved educating these young minds about mental health and well-being.
Since July 29, 2020, these 100 Youth Champions have created about 500+ social media posts targeted at prevention of stigma and discrimination during COVID-19. This is part of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare initiative to consolidate efforts of select non-profits and unilateral agencies including WHO, UNICEF, Dasra among others in combating stigma and discrimination faced by COVID warriors and patients. The National Risk Communication & Community Engagement coalition, helmed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, works towards mobilizing and building capabilities in digital advocacy of the youth from across the country.
These 100 YCs have also been working towards mobilizing further 300 young people in their communities across Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
A Youth Champion – Kakoli Konai, from Maheshpur in Jharkhand, shares, “After being part of the campaign, I have not only informed my community about misinformation and stigma around COVID-19, but I have been informed as well. It feels good when people listen to me and change their behavior.”
Through the campaign, the youth champions from Pakur, Jharkhand gained skills in the use of social media platforms to amplify their experiences. Through various tasks, they connected with service providers, like on ground COVID19 warriors, and were able to plan and respond to holistic concerns like violence, adolescent issues which are beyond health to focus on safety and well-being. As Kakoli Konai, Mahespur, a youth champion from Aangan Trust, mentioned, “We have used the same platforms like the Safety network formed in the community with ASHA and Aanganwadi Sevika to combat family violence to share the messages on stigma related to COVID19 while discussing safety protocols and individual safety plans.”
“It has been an enriching experience to work with young people in the digital space. The campaign has provided an opportunity for young people to express themselves – their fears, hope, and collective action,” explains, Anjali Anand is Senior Programme Coordinator at Pravah.
Shailja Mehta, Associate Director, Dasra, explains, “Shailja Mehta, Associate Director, Dasra, explains, “India’s current demographic dividend is large, and there is a great opportunity to unlock this potential. Under the 10to19 Dasra Adolescent Collaborative, we strive to generate and create platforms for amplification of adolescent priorities across areas including education, health, mental health, sexual and reproductive health rights, nutrition and safety. This year, we have kick-started the Ab Meri Baari campaign by training Youth Champions to play an active role in the fight against COVID-19. The campaign will continue to empower a larger group of girl and youth champions across the country to spotlight adolescent priorities.”
Shailja further adds, “Social and development challenges be it climate crisis, progress on Sustainable Development Goals 2030, or gender-based violence, youth participation at local, national and international level is a must. Youth should and want to participate, engage, and work towards solutions for systemic challenges. For combating stigma and discrimination during COVID-19, we have designed a toolkit for the Ministry of Health to leverage this youth interest for digital advocacy. Over 100 Youth Champions have been trained using the toolkit and have created an online reach of 6 Million+.”
Listen to the experiences, aspirations, and challenges of a few youth changemakers on Episode 2 (Covid-19 Ke Duraan Youth Champion Ka Safar) of our podcast series – “Humari Kahaani, Humari Zubaani”
Tune into the podcast here: << Episode 2: Humari Kahaani Humari Zubaani >>
Listen to episode 1 of the podcast here
The Ab Meri Baari campaign is a platform to empower adolescents with tools and channels to amplify their voices to decision makers. Last year, 300 girl champions were trained across Rajasthan and Jharkhand to conduct social audits and deliver a comprehensive charter of recommendations to strengthen the delivery of government schemes for adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights. Ab Meri Baari will continue to amplify adolescent voices, influence public awareness and opinion sexual and reproductive health rights and compel government action towards delaying age at pregnancy and increase agency.
Adolescents and young people (10–24 years) constitute about one-third of India’s population. There are multiple schemes and policies across various government departments, institutions and functionaries targeted towards improving adolescent and youth outcomes. The genuine and constructive participation of youth in these schemes and structures can help build better awareness, accessibility, regularity and reach in service delivery as well as among beneficiaries.
Dasra, meaning ‘enlightened giving’ in Sanskrit, is a pioneering strategic philanthropic organization that aims for a transformed India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity. Since its inception in 1999, Dasra has accelerated social change by driving collaborative action through powerful partnerships among a trust-based network of stakeholders (corporates, foundations, families, non-profits, social businesses, government and media). Over the years, Dasra has engaged with 500 philanthropists, corporates and foundations, published 22 research reports in diverse fields and directed over US$34 Million in strategic funding to the sector.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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